The Murdoch Quilt: Virtual Fandom, Tangible Connections

1 March 2023

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Ad description: Cover of the book Sheep, Shepherd & Land, and the words, "THE book about Canadian Wool, by Anna Hunter. Photos by Christel Lanthier. Buy now."

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What do you get when you combine a murder mystery, a costume designer, a knitter, a quilter, a pandemic, and an international fandom? In this case, you get a community quilt project that used fabric scraps from costumes to bind together a diverse group of crafters.

Canadian costume drama/detective show Murdoch Mysteries is currently in its sixteenth season, and its fans are spread around the world. For those who have not seen it, the show centres around fictional detective William Murdoch and his colleagues in the Toronto Police Force and coroner’s office, starting in 1895 and continuing into the early twentieth century. Technological and scientific discoveries of the Victorian and Edwardian eras are often key to the plot. The show is also known for casting Canadian celebrities—everyone from former Prime Minister Stephen Harper to astronaut Chris Hadfield and Olympic medalist Andre De Grasse—in roles that wink slyly (or broadly!) at their real-life personas. Costumes are an important part of the show, defining characters and adding depth and texture to a lively vision of Canada’s past.

Murdoch Quilt 3

One of Detective Murdoch’s suits, specially tailored with a third pocket to hold one of his experimental gadgets.

Murdoch Quilt 4

One of Dr. Julia Ogden’s stylish-but-practical outfits, with a combination of feminine blouse and menswear lapels that speak to her position as a trailblazing professional woman.

All images by Anne Blayney, unless otherwise noted.

Copyright © Anne Blayney except as indicated.
image description: a white woman stands in front of a hanging display of fabric face masks, joined together to form a loose quilt; she is pointing at one of the masks

About Anne Blayney

Anne Blayney is a conference planner and knitter based in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. She is a former contributor and editor at

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